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The Missing Corpse: A Brittany Mystery    by Jean-Luc Bannalec order for
Missing Corpse
by Jean-Luc Bannalec
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2019 (2019)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Missing Corpse is the fourth in Jean-Luc Bannalec's Brittany mystery series, charmingly old-fashioned police procedurals starring Commissaire Georges Dupin. He was exiled to Brittany from Paris after offending his superiors by doing too good a job, but is gradually becoming enamored of his new lifestyle, and has formed a strong relationship with Claire, a Parisian cardiologist.

As well as following the intriguing mystery in The Missing Corpse, readers are treated to an in-depth education on oyster quality, tastes and management of oyster beds. It all begins when elderly, famous film actress Sophie Bandol comes upon a corpse that subsequently disappears. Dupin is star struck when he makes Bandol's acquaintance, and includes her in his investigation, despite her elusive memories.

When a corpse shows up in a mountainous location a hundred kilometers away, the Commissaire insists that a policeman stand guard over it, before it goes missing as well. The dead man turns out to be a Scot who was involved in the oyster trade. While this investigation develops, Dupin needs to have a colleague's back after the officer gets into trouble with an unofficial investigation of sand thefts.

I enjoy this series for its unusual mysteries, quirky leads, its strong element of farce, but especially for lyrical descriptions of Brittany like 'You could really see the water floating down the river, not gently and sluggishly - but powerfully, urgently, with speed, lots of eddies, the Atlantic reclaiming the masses of water it had lent the countryside. Like a breath in and out.'

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